Online Gambling: A Canadian Monopoly
Online gambling exists on a legal spectrum that gets weirder and weirder the more you research it. In some countries, gambling online is totally legal and appropriately regulated and these are the countries where most of the international providers come from. Then there are the countries where it teeters back and forth like in the Philippines, where on any given Tuesday, an internet café that hosts internet gambling might get raided by authorities or praised for the tax revenues. In America and Canada, it’s not as flippant, but it gets even more confusing. For Americans, it’s not legal but it’s not illegal. You can’t run a business within the United States but as a citizen you are within your rights to use them if they are located outside of the country. It’s the same basic principle for Canada but by a different route.
Canadian online gambling is primarily thought of as legal but it remains out of reach for most of the country’s residents. It is run as a Canadian-monopoly where only regional lottery corporations are permitted to offer online gambling services. There are currently only three provincial lottery operators, out of the 10 in the country that even offer such services. Those regions are Quebec, British Colombia, and Ontario. These regions have acquired their own online gambling licenses through agreements made especially for this industry by the British Colombia Lottery Association AKA BCLC.
Canada is certainly not without its market; the governor of Alberta has been heard agreeing that the residents that he represents are playing online casino games and the country is simply not reacting to the potential losses they are seeing in the online gambling sector.
For all of you would-be online gambling enthusiasts who live in Canada outside of those three regions, hope is still alive. Like in America, you are legally permitted to use properly regulated offshore casino gambling destinations, they just aren’t allowed to market their services to you specifically. They will not deny any customers that are from Canada despite the country’s attempt to block this type of internet activity either and you stand to be in no trouble at all by utilizing them. When the laws were introduced to block access to these sites over the internet at the level of the internet service providers, lawmakers were met with stiff competition and heavy opposition. The proposition was later dropped and Canada’s internet remains free for the time being. Canadian gambling laws have certainly had a few close calls.
These online gambling companies who would gladly pay their fair share in tax revenues, can’t get proper regulation in Canada. The law states precisely that only the state-run lottery corporations are legally allowed to operate online gambling websites within the borders of Canada. As a result of the Canadian monopoly on the industry, all the tax dollars that they would be seeing are being sent overseas to support foreign economies. The US and Canada are not the only countries out there that are missing out on the fun, but they are probably the largest that stand to benefit from online gambling income.